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ROSBERG HEADS MERCEDES 1-2 AS MEXICO MAKES MAGICAL F1 RETURN

Nico Victory Hat

In front of a packed and hugely atmospheric Autodrómo Hermanos Rodríguez, Nico Rosberg took a controlled fourth victory of the season ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton to become the first winner of the Mexican Grand Prix since Nigel Mansell in 1992. Valtteri Bottas was third for Williams ahead of the Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo.

The German held his lead at the start of the race and over his first stint build up a solid gap to Hamilton. Eventually the Mercedes drivers’ advantage was so great that as the race approached its final third both were able to make a precautionary stop for fresh tyres and still stay ahead of the chasing pack as Rosberg headed for his first win since June’s Austrian Grand Prix.

A settled race order was opened up on lap 51 when Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who had struggled all race following an early puncture crashed out. Following a brief Safety Car period, Bottas jumped past Kvyat on the restart to claim his second podium finish of the season.

At the start Rosberg made a clean getaway to keep Hamilton in check on the long run down to Turn One. Behind them Sebastian Vettel didn’t get away as well and he was immediately passed by Kvyat.

Ricciardo attempted to also make a move down the inside into Turn One but Vettel was already coming across the track and the pair banged rear wheels as Ricciardo edged through. Vettel sustained a rear right puncture and pitted at the end of the lap for a new set of medium tyres.

The incident was put investigation but no further action was deemed necessary and much to Vettel’s chagrin on the radio Ricciardo went unpunished.

Further back, Fernando Alonso’s race ended on lap one, with the Spaniard reporting a loss of power almost immediately after the start. He was called into the pits where he retired.

At the end of lap one Rosberg led from Hamilton, with Kvyat third ahead of Ricciardo and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas. Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen had passed the second Williams of Felipe Massa and was now sixth. Local hero Sergio Perez was eighth ahead of team-mate Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz was in 10th place in the second Toro Rosso.

The order changed on lap eight when Bottas became the first of the frontrunners to pit and he took on medium tyres. The stop was a slow one, though as there was a problem with the front-right wheel. Team-mate Massa pitted a lap later as did Hulkenberg.

At the front Rosberg and Hamilton were trading blows, each putting in fastest laps as the Briton tried to close and Rosberg responded. Hamilton managed to get inside DRS range in the early laps but by lap 15 Rosberg had found enough extra pace to open a 1.8s lead over his team-mate. Kvyat was a further seven seconds back in third ahead of Ricciardo, with Verstappen now fifth after Bottas’ stop.

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Steve Johnson

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